Media Statement

Media Statement

28 October 2014.

 The Executive Board of Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara continues to serve the best interests of Anangu.

“We were elected by our communities to look after our people and our land,” said APY chairman, Mr Bernard Singer.

“Our role is to ascertain the wishes and opinions of traditional owners in relation to the management, use and control of the APY Lands and to protect the interests of traditional owners in relation to our lands.

“The decision of the board made on the 15 October 2014 to end Mr Bruce Deans probation period was made in accordance with our statutory functions and powers. It is not a decision we took lightly. We realised it would again place us under scrutiny.

“APY has commenced a national recruitment campaign to find a new General Manager. Working on the lands with Anangu requires a person with a particular skill-set. Ours is a living and true traditional culture – and to work with us and assist us with our dealings with the outside world requires a special person.

In the meantime we are being ably assisted by an interim General Manager with a team of experts and we are working closely with the South Australian and federal governments.

APY is in the process of an Executive Board led process of governance-strengthening. This work will continue.

“Our people are among the most disadvantaged and impoverished in the nation; we live in perhaps the most remote part of Australia. We do not enjoy the same facilities and services as those who live in rural and urban environments. However it is our choice to live here, this is our country, our home, our land.

“The APY Board, with assistance from our funding bodies, is trying to build viable businesses on our lands, which will provide employment and opportunities for our people.

“The APY board is disappointed that recent media reports concerning Mr Deans dismissal seemed to take his word for granted and appeared to blame APY for all the ills on the Lands, child abuse, poor school attendance, etc. Let us be clear - APY is the landholding authority. To blame APY for poor school attendance is like blaming the Burnside Council for school attendance numbers – the notion is preposterous. We do however work closely with the state and Commonwealth governments and their service providers to address some of the important issues – jobs, school attendance, child

Anyone living outside our lands has little understanding or compassion for what happens here.

As far as we are aware no journalist attempted to contact any member of the APY Executive for clarification or comment. This is not good enough.

For further comment or information please contact Lesley Johns, interim General Manager on 0412 583 577.

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